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abookaweek 2012: week nine

2012 March 4

Divergent, by Veronica Roth

Category: Dystopian / speculative fiction

Story: In a dystopian Chicago, the population is split up into five factions which together keep the city running. Beatrice is sixteen, which means she has to choose which faction she wants to become a member of: Erudite, whose priority is knowledge, Amity, who value friendship, Dauntless, the brave and reckless, Candor, who always tell the truth, or Abnegation, the selfless.

Opinion: Without a doubt this is a really entertaining read, with a thrilling plot and a good number of characters to keep you interested. Without a doubt, also, this is The Hunger Games v2.0. Young girl lives in a dystopian society where people are split up and misinformed, does something that is required of young people, but then decides to rebel, along with her love interest.

Divergent is not unique, but if you love The Hunger Games, you’re pretty sure to like this.

That said, two things really bothered me about this book. Firstly, the pace is way off. The first three quarters of the book are used to give some back story and to show Beatrice going through Dauntless initiation, and the last quarter suddenly springs into action with Beatrice revolting and dropping bodies left and right. This sudden change in pace is not entirely the book’s fault, it’s because Divergent is the first in a trilogy. YA, you’ve done it again. At least The Hunger Games wrapped the story up really well, and kept excellent pace throughout the entire book.

The second thing that bothered me, and again this is a bit of a motif in all YA, is how clueless Beatrice is. Key issues that are painfully obvious from about 30 pages in take her a further 200 to figure out. That would be okay if this was about an ordinary teenager (who, let’s face it, doesn’t have the wits that you and I have), but Beatrice is supposed to be so much smarter than everyone else.

No groundbreaking story here, but definitely something to tide me over until The Hunger Games movie is finally released.

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